E.A. Sports Today

Defense drives ‘Dega

Defending state champion Talladega holds White Plains to 10 points in the first half, earns return trip to Northeast Regionals
By Gregory Kirby
Special to East Alabama Sports Today
ANNISTON – Defending state champion Talladega came out aggressively on defense, trapped White Plains in a way it hadn’t been trapped before, held it to 10 points in the first half and roared to a 53-30 victory in the Class 4A sub-region round.
The Tigers now play Oneonta in their regional opener at Jacksonville State Monday at 1:30 p.m. Had White Plains won, the Wildcats would have played a team coached by their former assistant coach Brandon Crews.
Kobe Simmons led the Tigers with 12 points and 15 rebounds. D’Corian Wilson had 15 points and Aaron Green had 11, but it was the defense that set the tone for Talladega on this night.
The Tigers forced White Plains into several turnovers early. They held the Wildcats to two field goals in the first quarter and five in the half. The loss was White Plains’ first at home this season after going 9-0 during the regular season.
“I thought our first quarter was excellent on defense, the whole quarter,” Talladega coach Chuck Miller said. “We kind of took them out of their offense. We weer just trying to make them take hard shots, they’re such a good shoot and fundamental team.
“The starters came out and played excellent defense the first quarter and when we got winded our second bunch kept the intensity up. Holding them to 10 or 12 points in the first half, you knew they were going to finally hit some shots, but we wanted them to take hard shots and I thought that’s what we did.”
You’d get no argument from White Plains coach Chris Randall about that.
“Their ball pressure was the difference in the game,” he said. “And their traps. They turned us over and got off to that big lead.
“We knew it was coming. We were in right spots, we just hadn’t been trapped at that level this year; we hadn’t seen that speed. They’re just really good defensively. Too many turnovers.”
The tough defense staked the Tigers to a 29-10 halftime lead. The teams played even in the third quarter and Talladega stretched it a little more in the fourth.
Quin Wilson was the only White Plains scorer in double figures. He hit three 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 11 points. Brody Baker had six – all in the first half.
“We just came out and played Talladega basketball,” Talladega’s Wilson said. “Once we got it going we never looked back.”
The game was the last one for Coleman Messer, the Wildcats’ lone senior starter. Messer didn’t score a lot for the Wildcats, but Randall said “the things he did you can’t put a price tag on.” 
“I loved every single second of this season; I wouldn’t tradae these memories for anything,” Messer said. “Coach Randall has made a difference in my life. He taught me how to be a man and go through hard times. My teammates mean everything to me. Me and these boys have been through everything together. Love ‘em to death.”
Talladega 53, White Plains 30
Nigel Scales 2 0-0 6, LaJamein Castlebury 0 0-0 0, Jay Spratling 0 0-0 0, Arron Green 5 1-2 11, Michael McGregor 1 0-0 2, Rontavius Barclay 3 0-2 6, D’Corian Wilson 5 4-5 15, Roderius Montgomery 0 0-0 0, Chris Curry 0 1-2 1, Kobe Simmons 4 4-6 12, Keontae Funderburg 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 10-17 53.
WHITE PLAINS – Coleman Messer 1 0-0 2, Rico Aguire 0 0-0 0, Quin Wilson 4 0-0 11, Jaden Chatman 2 0-0 4, Jacob Wheeler 0 0-0 0, Landon Senciboy 0 0-0 0, Brody Baker 3 0-0 6, Carson Wright 1 0-0 2, Walker O’Steen 2 0-0 4, Kahlil Williams 0 1-2 1, Garrett Wilson 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 1-2 30.
Talladega         16 13  13  11  –  53
White Plains    4   6    13  7    –  30
3-point goals: Talladega 3 (Scales 2, Wilson); White Plains 3 (Q. Wilson 3). Total fouls: Talladega 11, White Plains 15.

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